1900 - 1903 & 1904 - 1919
(598 games as manager)
Dan McMichael is the only manager to have taken charge of Hibernian in two separate spells, being the first manager of the club from 1900-03 and then returning in 1904 after Phil Kelso left for Woolwich Arsenal.
The Irishman was, and still is, an important influencer for Hibernian, raising the club in the early years from the poverty-stricken Cowgate area of Edinburgh known as little Ireland.
After moving to Edinburgh via Coatbridge between 1895-98 and joining the club during this period, McMichael filled every role including secretary, treasurer and team physiotherapist, whilst also becoming Hibs’ longest-serving manager in a stint lasting 15 years.
Although Hibernian were run by a committee from 1875 until 1903, Dan McMichael was effectively the manager when the club won the Scottish Cup in 1902 and the League Championship in season 1902/03. And after handing over the managerial reigns to Phil Kelso in 1903, McMichael returned in 1904 and would lead Hibs until his death in 1919.
Alan Lugton, who wrote The Making of Hibernian, describes McMichael as "a tall, serious-looking man with a bushy moustache", who fought to keep Hibs alive when they struggled during the First World War years. With players and staff called up to serve their country, and no money to compete with Celtic – who had replaced them as the Irish community's most popular club – he became adept at identifying young players with a bright future. "I don't need money to bring stars to Easter Road," McMichael said. "Hibs bring out their own stars."
It wasn't easy though. Rangers demanded that Hibs be dropped from the fixture list because they were not competitive enough. McMichael stubbornly refused. While some football clubs closed down until the war was over, he saw football as an important device with which to boost the community's morale, even if results suggested otherwise. By the end of 1918, McMichael's team were bottom of the league, boasting just three wins in 19 outings that season. Jock Ward, the owner of a chip shop in Easter Road, even said he would serve up free fish suppers in the event of a home win!
A depressing time on the field grew even worse off it, as Dan McMichael sadly passed away. The manager had already taken ill when he took Hibs to play Falkirk on 1st February, 1919. There had been heart trouble and talk of a kidney complaint, but on his way back to Edinburgh from a 1-1 draw at Brockville, it was the Spanish flu that caused McMichael's collapse. Taken home to be with his wife, Jane, at 247 Easter Road, McMichael was confined to bed, where he died peacefully five days later.
Commonly referred to as Spanish flu because of its early effect on Spain, the pandemic spread to almost every corner of the civilised world, from the Arctic Circle and the remote Pacific Isles to Edinburgh and the docks of Leith - where McMichael worked as a ship's carpenter when he wasn't dedicating himself to Hibs. In fact, Edinburgh's death rate was the highest in Scotland, with a figure that peaked in the month when McMichael died.
Like many of the pandemic victims, McMichael was buried in an unmarked grave. However, several decades later, a group of Hibernian supporters found the grave site from local records and raised funds for a gravestone, having been dismayed at no marker existing for such a notable figure in the club's history.
The memorial for Dan McMichael was unveiled at a special ceremony held at his burial place behind the Famous Five Stand at Easter Road Stadium in December 2013, with St Patrick’s Hibernian Supporters’ Branch organising the service and memorial.
Full name Daniel McMichael
Date of birth circa 1860
Place of birth Ireland